52 Stories

Cambridge has a fabulous story-celebrating initiative called 52 Stories. Children bring their grown-ups from far and wide to Cherry Hinton Library every Saturday morning, to listen to wonderful books.

Mo Child and Annelies Saunders are among the founders of 52 Stories. And these intrepid ladies have been giving their time to organise the event for THREE WHOLE YEARS! They have a pool of volunteer readers, and somebody reads EVERY week. That’s a lot of stories!

Annelies Saunders & Mo Child


Earlier this month I joined a group of volunteers and even more enthusiastic children, to celebrate 52 Stories’ third anniversary.

Some of the 52 Stories gang, including volunteers, Richard, Clare, Shani, Janet, Mark and Edward


Reflecting the birthday theme, the books we read included ‘Angelina’s Birthday’, ‘Happy Birthday, Winnie’ and ‘Happy Birthday, Moon’. We also enjoyed the Paddington picture book, in tribute to Paddington’s creator Michael Bond who, sadly, died a few days earlier.

Our audience listened and joined in beautifully, and did some fantastic birthday-themed colouring-in. We all got a cupcake at the end, and went home looking forward to our next storytime session.

I’ll be reading at 52 Stories again on Saturday 29th July, 10.30-11.15am. I hope to see you there. @52stories

Jersey Summer

I’ve been exploring sun-drenched Jersey. I’m lucky to have a dear cousin living there, who introduced me to some of the island’s sights and stories. She also let me share some walks with her delightfully turbo-tailed spaniels.

I’ve touched the heroic granite of the Menhirs – ancient, lichen-crusted stones standing among the sand dunes.


I’ve learned more about the conservation work begun by Gerald Durrell, at Jersey Zoo. (His book ‘My Family and Other Animals’ about his childhood in Corfu is adapted for TV in ‘The Durrells’). I tried out the meerkat hide. Sadly no meerkats dared to come near this strange alien in a bubble…


I’ve visited the War Tunnels, which were hacked out of the rock by the Nazis using slave labour during WWII and are now used to depict the horrors of the Occupation. They show us the faces of the individuals: the invaders, heroes, victims, ordinary folk, so we can try to imagine making the choices they had to make.

Unlike the War Tunnels, we don’t know for sure who built La Hougue Bie passage grave 6000 years ago. But we can crawl into it, doubled up, and shine a torch on the wet granite walls and wonder whose bones were laid to rest here under the great cairn and earth mound. And we can imagine the stories their children told.


Oh, and I’ve enjoyed a convivial fish and chip supper on the beach while watching a stunningly perfect sunset.


It’s been an amazing trip to a place packed with human history. I’m grateful to my lovely cousin for being such a great guide. Thanks, Denny!

Prize draw winner!

Thank you so much to everybody who took part in the ‘Daddy’s Little Star’ prize draw, and for the kind comments you left on my blog.

I have shuffled all the names in a hat in the sunshine, and picked out a winner.


And the lucky winner is… Aysha Suleman. Congratulations, Aysha!

The signed copy of the book will set off on its travels tomorrow, and I hope it brings great pleasure.

I wish everybody could win. Please don’t forget that you can buy Daddy’s Little Star through all the usual outlets. UK libraries should be able to find a copy too.

Thank you all again!